Will or you or your loved ones need Long Term Care? What are your options?

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of Estate Planning is planning for long term care. In my practice I have seen a number of instances where people have carefully planned for their retirement but have failed to plan for the possibility of disability. The impact can be devastating.

Our increasing life expectancy and the aging of baby boomers has led to a sharp spike in the percentage of adults who will need living assistance in their elder years. Recent statistics regarding this need are sobering:

  • For a couple turning 65, there is a 70% chance that one of them will need long-term care.
  • 65% of people over 75 need care and the average stay in a nursing home or other facility for older people is about three years.
  • 95% of people over age 85 require Elder Care assistance in the last years of their life. Single persons require care more often because they are not living with someone who can properly assist them. The same is true for wives, who may outlive their husbands by an average of seven years.

Long term care is usually required when one experiences a chronic illness that creates disabilities. When an individual can no longer perform everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing or eating (called Activities of Daily Living or ADL’s) it is commonly recognized that help is needed. That help can come in a variety of ways and may increase in necessity over time. Many people are forced to make last minute assisted living plans when a medical emergency occurs. Others make plans in advance for their parents or for themselves.

Long term care needs vary in scope. Most long-term care is actually provided to people living in their own homes. The care usually comes from children or family members but there are many agencies providing services that allow people to remain in their homes for longer periods of time. Meals can be received daily from organizations like “Meals on Wheels.’ Nurses and aides who provide personal nursing care can be found through state, county and local agencies for reasonable hourly fees. The skilled assistance delivered at traditional nursing facilities comes at the highest cost and the number of choices continues to keep pace with the increase of our senior population in the United States.
Long-term care is not limited to Elderly Care. There are also Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals which are designed for patients of any age with chronic conditions.

Understanding the options available to meet a person’s needs will make evaluating your choices and implementing your plan much easier and possibly even more affordable. The costs associated with elderly care range from minimal to significant, depending on who is delivering the service. Advanced planning helps families determine whether savings are sufficient for projected needs or the long-term care insurance option should be investigated. In any event, planning helps give everyone peace of mind.

It can be difficult to start the conversation with your loved ones about their -- or your own -- need for long-term care, the options available, and how you are going to pay for it. Elder Mediation (often referred to broadly as Family Mediation) is an aid to those who are having trouble negotiating with family members regarding this sensitive issue.

If you live in Michigan and need experienced estate planning help, contact Michael Einheuser for a free consultation. Michael helps families in Bingham FarmsTroyFarmington HillsRochester HillsSouthfieldWest Bloomfield TownshipBloomfield Township, and the surrounding Michigan areas.

Schedule your Free Consultation today: (248) 398-4665.

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